13abc Salutes Black History Month: Jim Parker - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

13abc Salutes Black History Month: Jim Parker

Posted: Updated:

Many consider him to be the greatest lineman to ever play pro-football, but many don't know the story behind "Big Jim Parker"   His story is just one of the many featured at the African American Legacy Project of Northwest Ohio.

Jim Parker was born in 1934 in Macon, Georgia. He was one of 6 kids.  When Parker turned 18, He hitch hiked to Toledo. Robert Smith from the African American Legacy Project tells 13ABC,  "they were supplementing a family on 28 dollars combining work from 2 kids...so parker struck out on his own to find new ground and territory." 

Parker enrolled in Scott High school. Although his first love was basketball, his skill in football would ultimately change his life.  One day while working as a valet, He had an encounter with a young Ohio State Coach by the name of Woody Hayes.

Smith tells 13abc,  "The owner of Babcock dairy pointed to Woody Hayes and said "Hey there's the best football player in Toledo" and they got together.  Parker would become the first African American to stay in a dorm at The Ohio State University.  

From 1954 through 1956 Parker played on both offensive and defensive lines. Parker known for his size, strength, and quickness used his talents for clearing a path for running backs. Parker would help Hayes win his first national championship in 1954 and in 1956 Parker won the Outland Trophy.

Smith tells 13ABC,  "Woody Hayes had stopped him one day and said are you better today than you were yesterday?...Parker said no and so Hayes made him run laps ... and Parker said that stuck...so what he did in his life ...is learn how to move yourself forward each and every day." 

In 1957 Parker was selected by the Baltimore Colts in the first round of the NFL draft. Parker would receive many accolades for his skill on the field. In 1973 Parker was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Parker credits Toledo in turning his life around and making his football career a success. Big Jim Parker died in 2005.

The African American Legacy Project is located on Upton Avenue.  If you'd like donate to the AALP or book a tour call 419-720-4369.

  • LocalMore>>

  • Bodies of 2 boaters recovered; 2 still missing

    Bodies of 2 boaters recovered; 2 still missing

    Thursday, April 17 2014 11:05 PM EDT2014-04-18 03:05:29 GMT
    The Coast Guard is searching for a missing boat with at least three people on board.Officials say they received a report of a 21-foot bath boat that hadn't returned when it was expected.They say the boaters
    The search continues by air and water for two boaters who are still missing in Lake Erie.  The US Coast Guard found two women dead in the water this afternoon. The search for two men who were with them is ongoing.
  • 68 graduate from the Toledo Police Academy

    68 graduate from the Toledo Police Academy

    Thursday, April 17 2014 10:07 PM EDT2014-04-18 02:07:37 GMT
    The road to graduation isn't easy, but 68 men and women made it to the finish line.They're no officially members of the Toledo Police Department."I'm very excited, very happy to make it to this day," Ben-Jiang
    68 men and women graduate from the Toledo Police Academy.
  • Virus killing piglets in Ohio and Michigan

    Virus killing baby pigs in Ohio and Michigan

    Thursday, April 17 2014 6:24 PM EDT2014-04-17 22:24:33 GMT
    The cold winter we just came through helped fuel a virus in pigs. It's threatening pork production and pushing up prices. The Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus or PEDV has killed thousands of piglets across
    The cold winter we just came through helped fuel a virus in pigs. It's threatening pork production and pushing up prices. The Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus or PEDV has killed thousands of piglets.
  • Top StoriesMore>>

  • Bodies of 2 boaters recovered; 2 still missing

    Bodies of 2 boaters recovered; 2 still missing

    Thursday, April 17 2014 11:05 PM EDT2014-04-18 03:05:29 GMT
    The Coast Guard is searching for a missing boat with at least three people on board.Officials say they received a report of a 21-foot bath boat that hadn't returned when it was expected.They say the boaters
    The search continues by air and water for two boaters who are still missing in Lake Erie.  The US Coast Guard found two women dead in the water this afternoon. The search for two men who were with them is ongoing.
  • Ohio prison vendor hit for damages

    Ohio prison vendor hit for damages

    Friday, April 18 2014 8:46 AM EDT2014-04-18 12:46:21 GMT
    COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The state has hit a private food vendor that holds the contract for feeding Ohio prison inmates with $142,100 in damages for failing to meet contractual requirements. The Department
    COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The state has hit a private food vendor that holds the contract for feeding Ohio prison inmates with $142,100 in damages for failing to meet contractual requirements. The Department
  • Mumps cases at central Ohio community college

    Mumps cases at central Ohio community college

    Columbus health officials say they've confirmed 2 cases of mumps at a local community college as an outbreak of the illness continues.
    Columbus health officials say they've confirmed two cases of mumps at a local community college as an outbreak of the illness continues.

Area Events Calendar

See It, Shoot It, Send It!